All Fun and Games fails to deliver what the title promises. The horror elements are not explored to their full potential, resulting in a sloppy, half-baked film. The story unfolds in Salem, Massachusetts, a city with an unforgettable history of witch hunts and prosecutions. At the center of All Fun and Games are the Fletcher siblings—Billie, Marcus, and Jo. Their father left them after he sobered up, and they grew up under their mother’s care. Their uncle, Bob, was unemployed and had been living with them for years. While Billie had a social life, Marcus was a loner. Jo believed he was Marcus’ only friend, and they used to spend a lot of time together. One morning, when Marcus and Jo were cycling home together through the woods, Jo heard voices whispering his name. Upon walking into a cabin, he came across a knife and a diary. Marcus was confident that the house belonged to a psychopath who wanted to play with their minds, and he thought it was best if they left the creepy place. While they did leave the cabin, Jo carried the knife with him.
How Did The Curse Work?
The rusty knife that Jo found at the cabin was cursed. Soon after returning home, Jo locked himself in a room and cleaned the knife. It had the words “I will play, I won’t quit” inscribed on it, and for some reason, Jo thought it was perfectly normal to read out the words. He saw glimpses of the past incidents that occurred as a result of the cursed knife. Thankfully, there was a knock at the door, and he did not read out the second half of the curse. Jo was not his usual self; he was sweating profusely, and he was doing whatever the demonic voice was asking him to. He convinced Billie, her boyfriend Pete, her best friend Sophie, Marcus, and Uncle Bob to play a game with him. But his plan did not work, and Billie, Pete, and Sophie headed out to a party. Jo pressurized Marcus to repeat the curse embedded on the knife, and upon uttering the words, “Tell me, demon, am I it?”, the demon took possession of Marcus’ body. Jo returned to his normal self and tried to bring Marcus under control, but he could not.
The nature of the curse is gradually explained in All Fun and Games, as Marcus goes on a killing spree. The demon took possession of the one who repeated the curse on the knife. The body turned into a demon vessel and acted on the whims of the evil spirit. The demon enjoyed playing games with his victims before killing them. From the glimpses of the past incident, it becomes clear that once the demon vessel murdered everyone around them, they killed themselves upon the demon’s instruction. Marcus’ first target was Uncle Bob, and his game of choice was Hangman. Bob was eventually choked to death, and Marcus walked to the party Billie, Pete, and Sophie were at.
The demon wanted to hunt more bodies and demanded his victims amuse him with a game of hide and seek. Marcus had carved an ‘X’ symbol on his forehead, and he had blood dripping down his face. Everyone at the party followed his orders once they realized that he was not the Marcus they knew. Thankfully, Billie had left the party before Marcus crashed. She met Jo on the way, and he informed her about the killing rampage. Sophie found her way to Jo and Billie, and they together decided to visit the cabin where Jo had found the knife. Meanwhile, Marcus stabbed and slashed one body after another. He had turned vicious, and after slaying everyone at the party, he returned home to hunt down his family.
What Was The History Behind The Cursed Knife?
In All Fun and Games, the diary left at the cabin plays a crucial role in solving the mystery behind the cursed knife. The diary revealed to Billie, Sophie, and Jo that years ago, a woman was accused of being a witch and was ostracized. Not only was she treated with contempt, but her son, Daniel, too, was harassed by the people of the town. When the minister announced that witches must be burned, men forced into her house and carved the ‘X’ symbol on her forehead. That night, she ran away with her son, hoping to escape the maddening wrath of the commoners. When the mother and son tried to rebuild their lives in the woods, children from the township found Daniel. They tricked him into playing games with them, and when he agreed, they carved the ‘X’ on his forehead as well.
As Daniel shrieked in pain, the children hanged him from a tree. The children decided to play a game of hide and seek when they realized that he had not died yet. When they found him, they ripped one tooth after another out of his mouth. After playing Hangman and hide and seek with Daniel, the children torched his body and slashed his throat. Upon witnessing the inhuman torture her son had to endure, the mother turned to witchcraft. She crafted a knife out of Daniel’s bone and used a curse spell to make sure that Daniel could seek vengeance over and over again. Daniel’s spirit awoke each time the spell was repeated aloud, and he possessed the vessel. He was always the one in control, and he decided how the games would be played. Just like he was tricked into playing, he did the same with his victims. The curse only ended when Daniel got rid of the vessel in the end, and there was no alternative. Billie refused to accept how the story ended, and even though it seemed impossible to win while playing against a supernatural force, Billie knew winning was the only way they could save Marcus.
How Did The Siblings Destroy The Demon?
Since Daniel was torched to death, Jo decided to play a game of flashlight tag with him. He was good at the game, and as soon as he pointed his flashlight at Marcus, his body caught fire. Together, the three managed to weaken Marcus (Daniel), and he dropped the knife from his hand. Billie got hold of the knife, and in order to protect her brother, she repeated the curse. She was transported to her mental space, where Daniel tried to take possession of her mind and her body. Billie stopped him by forcing her thumb into his eyes, and suddenly, she was back to reality. Daniel could not take possession of Billie, and so he was transported to reality in his actual form. While Marcus struggled to get over the guilt of killing innocent people, when he heard Billie scream after Daniel grabbed hold of her, he intervened. But Daniel was too powerful to be stopped as easily, and Jo volunteered to become the demon vessel.
At the end, Daniel approached Jo to take over his body, and Jo stabbed him in the stomach with the cursed knife. Daniel’s body was reduced to a black, liquid patch on the floor. The threat was finally over, with Daniel losing the game for the very first time after his death. The next morning, Marcus handed himself to the police. Even though he did not commit the murders on his own, it was impossible to explain the truth to others without sounding insane. While Jo, Marcus, and Billie were successful in protecting themselves, it was not the end of the curse.
During All Fun and Games‘s ending, the knife reappears at the cabin, suggesting that it will continue to haunt and kill thousands more. The siblings managed to eliminate a version of Daniel, but since he was a demon spirit, it was not technically possible to destroy him entirely, or so it seems. All Fun and Games could have explored the backstory of the other spirits who recurringly appear in the film. While it does, in a way, incorporate the 1962 witch trial, there was enough scope to smooth the edges and indulge in the many interesting aspects introduced during the film. Apart from a severe lack of suspense, the story is not convincing enough, and struggles to keep it together till the end.